Which will come out on top in this final battle between hope and despair?
It will be impossible to talk about this show with spoiling what has happened in the series, so please be aware of that going into it.
Starting with the Future Arc side of the series, I absolutely adored this. There was so much intrigue and it was great to see the story carry on from the games in a way that showed Makoto couldn’t get away with whatever he wanted just because he’s considered the Ultimate Hope. The clashing opinions between him and Munakata makes for an interesting take on how hope can actually be a bad thing with the wrong motivation. However, it was almost pointless to bring in these members of the Future Foundation because they were all killed off by the end of the series. Some of them were interesting and some of them I could take or leave, but for all of them to be dead by the end of the series made it feel so arbitrary to have them.
The best part of the Future Arc was the growth of Makoto Naegi. While Makoto isn’t by any means as nieve as he used to be, he still doesn’t take as much action as he probably should. But this was about him defending why he did what he did with the Remnants of Despair. He had to stand by his morals and protect his friends when they were roped into the new killing game. The most growth came when Kyoko died. He was accused of not caring about her because he just leaves to take on Munakata. But her death affected him so much that she was one of the main influences when Makoto watched the despair video. It was kind of heart breaking to watch him have to force himself to keep going after the death of someone who meant so much to him.
But what about the story of the students he defended?
The Despair Arc was average at best. I was really hoping that we would learn more about the characters and get to understand more of their motivations as to why they became Remnants of Despair. However, the story was more about watching Junko be Junko and it became less about the Remnants themselves. Even that was a bit of a let down because Junko wasn’t as calculating as I thought she would be. She relied on her brainwashing program and that’s what took care of everything that she had built up. I could understand if she used it on a more wide spread scale and worked with the Remnants on a more intimate level, but that wasn’t the case.
The other thing about Despair Arc was that it basically ruined Chisa Yukizome for me. It’s not the fact that she was forced into despair by Junko because I actually found that very interesting. What annoyed me was how aware of everything Yukizome was. It would have been one thing if the despair was something that completely took her over to the point where she wasn’t herself anymore. But she manipulated Nanami and brought her to her death. She even started to deceive Munakata because she wanted him to feel an even greater despair than any of them ever did. It was frustrating to watch someone who was considered such a pillar of support for many of these characters betray them and it seemed like she just didn’t care about her students or Munakata by the end of the series.
How does it all come together though? Where do hope and despair finally meet?
At the end of the series, one of the former classmates of the Remnants has decided that he is going to use his animation skills to brainwash despair out of the world. In his mind, despair will do nothing but hurt and destroy people. He never wants to see that happen again. Hajime is able to reason with him, however, and explain that they wouldn’t be who they are now without despair. Even though they want to forget the horrible things they’ve done, they found each other and have been able to move on because they basically found their hope through that despair. It carries on the theme from the second game, which is that despair and hope are not as cut and dry as many would believe it to be.
In the end, I have to say that I really enjoyed the majority of this series.
Future Arc was definitely the strongest of the two and offered more to fans who were looking for a continuation of the story. Despair Arc, which there were some interesting relationships between Hajime and a few of the characters, seemed to fall short by almost diminishing the importance of Remnants in place of hyping up Junko. However, in the end, I think everything was wrapped up well and the loose ends were tied up. The story of the students of Hope’s Peak Academy has ended with each class moving towards the future in their own way. I don’t feel as though either story was incomplete by the time we got to the end and the endings work for each side, either hope or despair. It’s offers a complete conclusion for fans and is worth a look for those who haven’t checked it out.